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What Careers are in Criminal Justice?

These are no longer the days of the wild west and the lone lawman – careers in criminal justice and law enforcement are now varied and many. So, what are some of the choices one might find available in this wide world of criminal justice careers today? Here is an introductory sample list to help give anyone great ideas for entry into this rewarding field.

Police Officer

We’re all familiar with police officers. These professionals maintain order on the streets and fulfill a noble necessity in every society. As a police officer, one can continue to gain tenure and rank within the position or change roles and work in additional roles in the police department. Detectives, police commissioners, sheriffs, and other executive law enforcement positions are typically filled by tenured police officers.

Private Investigator

Private investigative work is often used in court and other legal matters. In such work, a private investigator, often referred to as a PI, will act as a detective to seek certain evidence. Following paper trails, seeking documents and physical evidence, and even surveillance work is all part of the job. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows this position as one expected to grow at a faster than average rate of around 10% in coming years.

Forensic Science Technician

Forensic science is the scientific dissection of evidence in a law enforcement application. Bones, DNA, fingerprints, shell casings, and all types of other natural and synthetic substances are the regular study targets of forensic science technicians. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also considers this criminal justice career as one of the fastest growing, at a growth rate of approximately 17% over the coming years.

Probation, Parole Officers

Probation and parole are measures of the court taken to monitor someone’s ongoing activities in society. Someone freshly released from prison, or paroled, must regularly report to a parole officer who monitors their activities for a given time thereafter. In probation, someone is given a probationary status as punishment, and a probation officer must then track their activities thereafter. Each of these professionals plays a vital part in the criminal justice and corrections systems alike.

Corrections Officer

Corrections officers go by many names – prison guards, wardens, jail-keepers, and more. No matter the name used for them, however, these professionals perform the important job of maintaining order and security at any of the nation’s prisons or jail facilities. Working in this role also provides one with access to a hierarchical ladder similar to that found in police departments, rich in opportunity for role and responsibility changes.


The bailiff is the keeper of the courtroom. This important officer stands present over courtroom proceedings, assuring peace and order in the most tense of legal standoffs and routine proceedings alike. Bailiffs are a specialized type of law enforcement officer and are often employed by the local sheriff’s office specifically.

US Marshal

US Marshals are federal law enforcement officers. These highly respected individuals can make arrests in any of the 50 states and travel around seeking fugitives and investigating the possibility of other criminal happenings. While marshals often work alone in many respects, they still cooperate and work to a great extent with other law enforcement agencies in the spirit of the end goal – justice and order.

Related Resource: Top 10 Associate’s in Criminal Justice Online 2018

Today, these careers are a substantial part of society. The above-mentioned roles represent just a small sample of the totality of the work done in the field of criminal justice and law enforcement.